Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Altering the "His Dark Materials" Series on account of the Christian Right

From an article in the British Times:

Chris Weitz, the director, has horrified fans by announcing that references to the church are likely to be banished in his film. Meanwhile the Authority, the weak God figure, will become any arbitrary establishment that curtails the freedom of the individual.

The studio wants alterations because of fears of a backlash from the Christian Right in the United States. The changes are being made with the support of Pullman, who told The Times last year that he received a large amount for the rights.

I was unspeakably furious when I read this. Not only are they going to gut one of the major themes and plot girders of the series, the author is SUPPORTING this? This seems like a complete and utter sell-out. This reminds me of the controversy surrounding the Sci-Fi Channel's TV adaption of
Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books, when nearly every single non-Caucasian major character of hers was made Caucasian for the TV mini-series (thanks to the producers completely cutting the furious Guin from the production). Guin intended those characters to be who they were, dark skin and all, just as Pullman intended the Church to symbolize the corrupt, powerful institutions in our world that restrict the freedom of individuals. To remove these subtly or not-so-subtly significant portions of the books for a TV or film adaption is a foolish and disrespectful move, both to the authors and the fans. I hope that the outrage from long-time fans of both series teaches producers a lesson. Censorship for the sake of political correctness or placation of an interest group is a troubling sign that we live in an increasingly-Orwellian world.

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